PAUL’S TRAVELS AND READING THE BIBLE
Paul and his friends are having a difficult time traveling. That is the point of today’s passage and there is not much to say here as the passage needs to be read in the greater context of the whole chapter to get a “spiritual” meaning and application.
I would like to take time today to talk about reading the word. I believe that there is a temptation to always find “meaning” in everything we read because it is God’s words and that is not a bad mentality to have where we revere or think highly of God’s words. But like any story, there are parts of it that only serve as bridges to to the points that are being made. For example, when I am telling a story and I am getting to a point or the punch line, there will be moments in the story that I tell a particular detail that does not serve any deeper truth or meaning but help the story going. I could be telling a story about how I learned a valuable lesson on self-control when I got into a fight with a friend but me telling you that I drove to my friends house doesn’t serve any deeper purpose other than it helped the story move. The car didn’t represent anything mystical or a profound truth but was a detail that needed to be said to make the story move and it is the same way with passages in the Bible.
To say that the boat represented something would be a stretch of the imagination and makes the story say something that is not. So what do we do?
Always read a passage in context.
What is the context? The context is the beginning and end of a story if it is a story but a helpful tip in the Bible is using the chapter markers. What is this passage mean in light of the whole chapter? In light of the chapters before and after it? In light of the whole book? In light of the NT or OT? Do you see a pattern? You will get the meaning of the passage as you go out further and further until you start seeing the text in light of what God is trying to say throughout the whole Bible. For our purpose of a daily devotional, start with looking at the whole chapter.
Read the passage with the question, “What does this tell me about God.”
If you read with that question in mind, you won’t be far too off from the truth for the Bible is primarily a book that is supposed to reveal who God is.
Keep reading the word
You can’t simply be good at reading the word and understanding it overnight! You have to be willing to read and reread the passage constantly! Some people marvel at others who are able to get deep insight or truth from a text but not realize that the person has worked hard in reading the bible frequently and lived in it rather than just visited it from time to time. Don’t make the bible a vacation spot but your home.
Ask the Holy Spirit
This needs to be done from the beginning and throughout for it is the Holy Spirit that helps us to understand.
So what is today’s passage telling us? Paul and his friends travelled.
Wait till tomorrow for the greater context and what today’s passage is building up for!